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Since 1989, the Posse Foundation, has worked “to identify, recruit and train individuals with extraordinary leadership potential.” Students selected as Posse Scholars receive full-tuition leadership scholarships from Posse’s partner colleges and universities.

Posse students are selected to participate in pre-collegiate training programs with the Posse Foundation Houston. In August, students from the Posse Foundation Houston, enrolled in college together, as a small cohort of students, attending the same college together so they could “back each other up.”  Houston students applying to Posse can be selected for Posse groups at Bryn Mawr College, Carleton College, Colby College, Texas A&M University, the University of Virginia, and Wellesley College. This year, YES Prep students were selected for three of Posse Houston’s six cohorts.

Presenting YES Prep’s Posse Scholars

Below, our Posse scholars tell us what this opportunity means to them and their college counselors also share a few words.

Mauricio Hernandez

Mauricio Hernandez, YES Prep Brays Oaks

Colby College in Waterville, Maine

Mauricio Hernandez is the captain of the YES Prep Brays Oaks Chess team and has been a student athlete competing in multiple spots while at YES Prep. He is modeling the way for his family, with his younger brother Josue also attending Brays Oaks.

Mauricio decided to apply to college through the Posse selection process. When asked why he said, “My dream has always been to go to college out of state to experience something new and get out of my comfort zone. Posse not only made this possible, but it sent me alongside nine others to be my support system, which was more than I could ever ask for.”  He has been selected to attend Colby College this fall alongside fellow YES Prep student Lesly Padilla and eight other seniors.

When he gets to Colby, he is really looking forward to their “Janplan” program that allows students to do internships, study abroad or engage in other learning activities during the month of January.

Mauricio said, “I am planning on studying neuroscience in college and eventually getting into med school to become a surgeon.”  With Colby’s set up as a Liberal Arts college, he will be pursuing this degree with coursework offered by both their psychology and biology departments. He also plans to apply to Posse Internship opportunities around healthcare in underserved communities.

Mauricio has many people who helped him get into Colby. “I would like to thank all my friends who supported me and lifted my spirits up when I doubted myself. I also want to thank my teacher Mr. Barnes for not only being a teacher but a friend. And I especially want to thank my nominator Mr. Moses for providing top quality advice and support.”

Vincent Guerrero

Vincent Guerrero, YES Prep Southeast

Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas

While at YES Prep Southeast, Vincent Javier Guerrero has been the Student Ambassador Coordinator, and competed as a student athlete in both cross country and basketball. Vincent’s family has been part of the Southeast family for several years with an older sister alumna and other sister, Madeleine, who is also a senior.

Vincent said “I was first unsure of whether or not I should apply to Posse because of how competitive the pool of students all around Houston is. However, I wanted to seize every opportunity with full force, and blessed enough Posse chose me to be a part of their family.”

Vincent, who is already saying “Howdy”, is excited to be headed to Texas A&M this Fall. “Being Texas A&M bound is thrilling because of the connections I will create within the Aggie family and the challenging education that will make me an even better learner.”  In college he plans to major in Aerospace engineering, a career that will serve him well here in Space City.

Vincent would like to thank, “my mom and dad for supporting and believing in me when at times I did not. I also want to thank Mr. Mendez for giving me advice as a counselor and as a friend. Finally, I would like to thank Ms. Covarrubias who saw the spark I had when nominating me for Posse.”

Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes, YES Prep West

Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Juliana Reyes, from YES Prep West, is a first-generation college student, and will be the second member of her family to go to college, after her sister who graduated in 2016 from YES Prep Brays Oaks. She serves currently as Volunteer Director for the Senior Leadership Council at YES Prep West and is involved in community service programs in the community.

Juliana stated, “I decided to apply to college through the Posse process because I have always worried about the way I would be able to pay for college. I was always interested in going out of state, but with money and distance, I thought that dream was impossible, until Posse.”

Juliana will be attending Bryn Mawr, a Women’s College in Pennsylvania. She said “The most exciting thing about going to college with the Posse I’m with is that we will be a support group full of all women. Working with my Posse and the Posse Foundation, I will be able to connect with alumnus and members of Bryn Mawr College during and after I graduate.”

She plans to study political science and history at Bryn Mawr. She already has her sights on how she plans to get involved in college. “One way I plan to become involved and develop more leadership skills is through the many student organizations that Bryn Mawr offers, including the Student Government Association (SGA).”  Last year two Posse Houston students were elected President and Vice President of student government at Carleton College, and we are confident Juliana may be on the same track. 

Juliana said “I want to give an enormous thanks to my college counselor and nominator Mrs. Garza. She believed I was a great fit for the scholarship and led me through the entire process. Despite the circumstances of this year, she made it possible to always be there to motive me and lead me to be the Posse Scholar I am today.”

Lesly Padilla

Lesly Padilla, YES Prep Northbrook HS

Colby College in Waterville, Maine

Lesly Padilla is the oldest daughter of three and is charting a path for her siblings. As a first-generation student, she is the first in her family to go to high school and to continue her education in college. Lesly said her path to Posse started, “My sophomore year, when I joined Leadership, a class on restorative justice that changed my life for the better. After taking it, I not only started making connections but being more involved in school.”  She became a Student Ambassador, joined National Honor Society, where she currently serves as Vice President, and is a Youth Coordinator and a Teaching Assistant for Leadership.

She said, “I decided to apply to college through the Posse process because Posse wants genuine leaders who want to change the world. They not only give you a full-tuition scholarship and let you go, instead they support you all four years of college by providing mentors and other scholars who are like-minded.”

Going to college at Colby in Maine alone would have been scary, but not with Posse. “My biggest fear was not knowing anyone in Maine but there are nine other students who support you as a part of your Posse.”  Her Posse even includes one other YES Prep student, Mauricio Hernandez.

Lesly is excited for the many opportunities at Colby.  She listed multiple things that excite her about Colby: “First, the snow. As a Texan I have never seen much snow so the opportunity of building a snowman and creating snow angels excites me. Second, Colby College provides many opportunities for hands on research from studying abroad to internships. And lastly, the security. Knowing that I will have people on campus to support me provides me peace of mind since I will be going to a state that I know nothing of.”

Lesly also plans on pursuing a career in medicine. She said “I am interested in studying biology or biochemistry with a minor in business. I have always wanted to be a general family doctor, so I am hoping to study in the science field. After college I am hoping to continue my studies in medical school. My goal, if I am successful after medical school, is to create a plan to make treatment for people more accessible. Our current healthcare system is awfully expensive and so many people cannot treat themselves without going into debt. I am planning to hopefully change that.”

Lesly wants to thank the following people, “First, I want to thank my teachers for nominating me. I never expected to get this far yet they gently pushed me in the right direction. I would not be successful if it were not for them. Secondly, I want to thank Sergio Razo from Spring Spirit, he was supporting me every second of the way. He made sure I was up to date with the deadlines. He connected me to people that were experienced in the Posse process and gave me wonderful advice. Thirdly, my college counselor Ms. Gonzalez. She turned in all the documentation before they were even asking for it and when I needed her last minute, she would drop everything to help me. Lastly, my mother. She was my pillar and when I doubted myself, she picked me up and gave me confidence.  Strong women make a strong woman.”

Advice for future YES Prep student Posse applicants

Our Posse Scholars all offered advice for future YES Prep Students applying through the Posse Process, and all said the same thing.

Mauricio said, “be true to yourself; you shouldn't have to change yourself in any aspect for something or someone.”

Vincent encourages you, “to be yourself and to not be afraid to stand out in moments others choose not to. Be confident in who you are as a person and as a student.”

Juliana hopes you will “be your authentic self with no filter. Posse is an incredible opportunity that looks for leaders beyond the classroom. Be that leader.”

Lesly says “be genuine and true in your interviews. When asked about hobbies, I told them that I loved playing Minecraft with my friends. Talk about things that drive you and make you happy.” 

We hope those of you interested in Posse take this advice to heart.

Congratulations and good luck!

Congratulations to our four Posse Scholars for attaining this opportunity, and thank you to the teachers, college counselors, families and friends who supported them throughout the process. We wish you the best as you prepare for this next chapter.

To Mauricio, Vincent, Juliana, and Lesly, congratulations and we are excited for what your genuine leadership will bring to your college communities.

About the Posse Program

The Posse program recruits leaders from 10 cities in the U.S., including Houston. Students must be nominated by their high school or a community-based organization and can be nominated as early as their second semester in their junior year. Students must demonstrate leadership within their high school, community or family and demonstrate academic potential. The Posse Scholarship is neither a minority nor a need-based scholarship and it is open to students of all backgrounds.

For students and families interested in learning more about Posse, click here.